All-Star Weekend Big For Jordan Brand & Its Athletes
TORONTO – As the All-Stars got out of bed Friday morning, Yonge Street in Toronto already bustled with excitement.
Jordan Brand opened up a pop-up store Friday at 6:23 a.m., with fans lining up in advance, getting ready to purchase some of the newest and never-before-available Jordan apparel around, knowing they’d only have until closing at 6:23 p.m. Monday to get their shopping done.
All-Star Weekend is about much more than the game; it’s one of the most thrilling weekends of the year for the sneaker community. For Nike and Jordan Brand, the weekend provides a chance to show off new products while having their marquee athletes together in one place.
“It’s a big weekend for people who are into sneakers and shoes,” said Chris Paul. “A lot of guys wait to wear things for All-Star weekend. Obviously, everybody’s going to be looking at it, especially in the game, the different events you go to and stuff like that.”
Jordan Brand took full advantage of the opportunity, with many of the athletes coming through the pop-up store, which stayed open 24 hours through the weekend.
“All-Star Weekend is one of our most important moments in time,” said Sarah Mensah, Jordan Brand general manager of North America. “It’s as much about a convening of the entire community of sneakers as it is about basketball. It’s what we like to say, the style, the soul, as well as the performance of the game all interconnecting at this moment.”
Jordan Brand knows the significant of All-Star Weekend, which is why representatives went to Toronto back in July to begin to understand the nuances of the city, which they tried to express in the form of the pop-up store.
For Jordan Brand and for Nike, All-Star weekend is an opportunity to show off what the top athletes are wearing and to get the merchandise out to the public. Mensah said the team was “absolutely overwhelmed” at the response from Toronto, and to see people standing in line even in the frigid temperatures demonstrated just how passionate the basketball and sneaker fans are in the city.
“This is just an opportunity for everything to come together in a physical environment – the players that play the game, the amazing product that Jordan Brand is able to bring into the market and the energy, again, of sneaker culture,” Mensah said. “For the players to have an opportunity to participate in that in a physical way is just great.”
Paul and Blake Griffin are both Jordan Brand athletes, and with Paul part of All-Star Weekend, the point guard showed up to the pop-up store alongside his son and brother immediately after his media availability wrapped up Saturday afternoon.
Paul’s son wasted no time jumping in and playing a game the store offered to its customers on the right side of the store. Keep looking around, and portraits, photos and, of course, apparel surround anyone who walks in. Wind through the store and the available clothing, and against the back wall hangs a variety of shoes, many of which were new releases or weren’t available elsewhere.
A new shoe dropped at 6:23 a.m. every morning through the weekend, helping Jordan Brand release some of its most sought-after products, the headliner being the Air Jordan 30, which Russell Westbrook broke out on the court in January.
That shoe was available with the store’s opening, along with some other retros, including the Air Jordan 2 Retro “Just Don” in beach color and the Air Jordan 4 Retro “Cement.” Since Saturday was OVO Day, the pop-up store also dropped the OVO 10s in the white and black colorway.
Every time a pop-up store opens, it becomes an event, which was immediately evident walking into the store. And the excitement grew exponentially with the Jordan Brand athletes, including Paul, visiting throughout the weekend.
“It’s always a fun time for sneakerheads to see what type of shoes guys are going to pull out the bag or what they’ll wear out on the court,” Paul said.